Film Narrative Part 1 (2016)

Apunte Inglés
Universidad Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)
Grado Comunicación Audiovisual (Bilingüe) - 2º curso
Asignatura Film Narrative
Año del apunte 2016
Páginas 6
Fecha de subida 12/04/2016
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Más en www.unybook.com gperez1783 Film Narrative 0. WHAT IS NARRATION? Narration refers to the way that a story is told, and so belongs to the level of discourse. The different kinds of narration are categorized by each one's primary grammatical stance: either 1) the narrator speaks from within the story and, so, uses "I" to refer to him- or herself; in other words, the narrator is a character in the story itself, even if he is only a passive observer; or 2) the narrator speaks from outside the story and never employs the "I”.
In writing we have very few choices, and the combination between those is what makes them successful.
I. THE TIME.
There are four elements to take into account when writing, what creates your own style. There are four basic uses of time: • Time and order. The chronological order.
- Real time: In film, when a sequence is presented exactly as it occurs, without any edits or jumps in time. In general, film rarely attempts to presents the spectator with real time since the most interesting aspects of a narrative tend to reside in the discursive re-organization of the chronological story.
• Time and duration.
• Time and lapses.
• Time and frequency.
II. THE NARRATOR.
1. First-person narrator: The telling of a story in the grammatical first person, i.e. from the perspective of an "I," for example Moby Dick, including the famous opening: "Call me Ishmael." This form of narration is more difficult to achieve in cinema; however, voice-over narration can create the same structure. Orson Welles achieves similar effects in Citizen Kane through, for example, the judicious use of POV and over-theshoulder shots. Such narrators can be active characters in the story being told or mere observers. Firstperson narrations tend to underline the act of transmission and often include an embedded listener or reader, who serves as the audience for the tale. First-person narration focalizes the narrative through the perspective of a single character. The question of motivation or psychology is therefore raised: why is this narrator telling us this story in this way and can we trust him? For this reason, unreliable narrators are not uncommon.
2. Third-person narrator: Any story told in the grammatical third person, i.e. without using "I" or "we": "he did that, they did something else." In other words, the voice of the telling appears to be akin to that of the author him- or herself. This is perhaps the most common sort of narration and was particularly popular with the nineteenth-century realist novel.
Más en www.unybook.com gperez1783 2.1. Third-person omniscient narration: This is a common form of third-person narration in which the teller of the tale, who often appears to speak with the voice of the author himself, assumes an omniscient (all-knowing) perspective on the story being told: diving into private thoughts, narrating secret or hidden events, jumping between spaces and times. Of course, the omniscient narrator does not therefore tell the reader or viewer everything, at least not until the moment of greatest effect. Such a narrator will also discursively re-order the chronological events of the story.
2.2. Third-person-limited narration: Focusing a third-person narration through the eyes of a single character. Even when an author chooses to tell a narrative through omniscient narration, s/he will sometimes (or even for the entire tale) limit the perspective of the narrative to that of a single character, choosing for example only to narrate the inner thoughts of that one character. The narrative is still told in third-person (unlike first-person narration). However, it is clear that it is, nonetheless, being told through the eyes of a single character. A narrative can also shift among various third-person-limited narrations.
2.3. Objective treatment: An objective treatment of a scene is the most common use of the camera in film and television; we are simply presented with what is before the camera in the diegesis of the narrative.
We are not seeing the scene through the perspective of any specific character, as we do in POV shots or in a subjective treatment of events. “Objective treatment" corresponds to "third-person narration" in literature.
All of them met in the idea of trust, in relying in the idea and how you are telling your story. You have to be believable.
3. Focalize (focalizer, focalized object): How to focalize the story (information), where your focus is directed to. The presentation of a scene through the subjective perception of a character. The term can refer to the person doing the focalizing (the focalizer) or to the object that is being perceived (the focalized object). In literature, one can achieve this effect through first-person narration, free indirect discourse. In film, the effect can be achieved through various camera tricks and editing, for example POV shots, subjective treatment, over-the-shoulder shots, and so on. Focalization is a discursive element added to a narrative's story.
4. Voice-over narration: In voice-over narration, one hears a voice (sometimes that of the main character) narrating the events and facts that are being presented to the spectator. This technique is one of the ways for film to represent "first-person narration," which is generally much easier to represent in fiction.
'If you can't improve silence, stay quiet.' You have to create in the narrator a feeling of needing to communicate.
5. Unreliable narrator: A narrator that is not trustworthy, whose rendition of events must be taken with a grain of salt. We tend to see such narrators especially in first-person narration, since that form of narration tends to underline the motives behind the transmission of a given story. There are numerous famous examples in literature (James' "Turn of a screw" is a superb example) and in film (Citizen Kane).
The three-act plot structure Most (all?) stories can be separated into three different dramatic sections, parts or acts: the setup, the confrontation and finally resolution. To advance the action on from one act to another there are what we call Plot Points- particularly relevant pieces of the plot, which turn around the lives of the characters, change their relationships with others and alter the tone of the film. Needless to say, films often have a number of plot points such as these, but Field (a man) points to two major ones between the acts and a Más en www.unybook.com gperez1783 less important one at the middle of the film. There is something that links all of these parts, but at the same time separates them.
Something big happens. Beginning of the story.
Something happens to the main characters, from this point, nothing will be the same again. Beginning of the end of the story.
-The first act- setup Within the first ten minutes in particular, the audience will decide whether they like the film and will normally be unwilling to change their minds later. It is therefore vital for the film-maker to give the audience a sense in those first minutes what the film is going to be about, who the main CHARACTERS are and why they should care about him/her and what they can expect in terms of style. It is also relevant that spectators know about the PLACE. In the rest of the first act, the audience should learn the nature of the problem facing the hero although this can be left all the way to plot point one.
-The second act –Confrontation In this longest act of the film we see the main characters in a number of increasingly extreme problematic situations where they face their enemies and problems. Often there will be a mid-point where they begin to turn things around and win what looked like a helpless struggle, but there is still a long way to go and at plot point two they may realize that the way they have been going is not working and they will be ready for the 3rd act.
-Act three- resolution The hero will control the struggles with their problems (often by going to confront the enemy on their own home territory) and will reach a final, decisive victory.
All stories are presented by human beings (or animals, robots, that acts as humans), so movies presents human conflicts. If there is a conflict, the only way to present it is knowing your characters, doing something to them to try to solve those conflicts. At the end, we see the characters growing, getting better person, and that is the satisfaction of the 'happy ending'.
Coda: they are conclusions, part of the story. A good way to wrap up.
CHARACTERS Characterization: is the method used by a writer to develop a character. The method includes showing the character's appearance, displaying the character's action, revealing the character's thought, letting the character speak and getting the reaction of others.
1. Character development.
Characters should enter the story as dimensional, non-stereotypical characters, and become more complex as the story and other characters act upon them. They should be big as life; capable of developing and being changed. We should see different sides of them, understand how they think and act, learn about Más en www.unybook.com gperez1783 their philosophies and attitudes. We should be aware of their emotional make-up through their responses to their surroundings, to others with whom they interact, and to events which occur.
What is this character's goal or motivation, why does he/she want to achieve this goal, who or what is trying to stop this character from reaching this goal and why, what strengths of weaknesses of this character will help or hinder in the pursuit of this goal? Each character must have a goal, and something that opposes the character to it.
2. Action and interaction.
Each character is influenced by others, and responds through actions and emotions. The story influences the character and the character influences the story too. Creating dimensional characters demands close observance of real life: noticing the small details and character traits and listening for character rhythms, and making use of a wide range of thoughts, actions and emotions. The character of the individual should be expressed in a screenplay through actions rather than merely through dialog/talk. Action details will help expand and reveal characters while still focusing on the necessary actions to advance the story; the film becomes more dimensional because of the dimensional character(s).
What action do I need to find so that my character express what is he/she feeling at the moment? Show the characters, don't tell about them. The actions reveal the character.
3. Characters and flaws.
Interesting flaws humanize a character who is challenged to overcome inner doubts, errors in thinking, guilt or trauma from the past, or fear of and hopes for the future. Weaknesses, imperfections and vices make a character more real and appealing. The audience can identify with the character or, on the contrary, dislike him/her extremely. Flaws and imperfections give a character somewhere to go -the character arc- in which a character develops and grows, overcoming obstacles and gaining knowledge and wisdom and is recreated and restored to wholeness. A real character is not just and obvious trait, but a combination of many qualities and drives, some of them conflicting. The one character that is believed to be 'perfect' is Mary Poppins.
For example in Breaking Bad, the imperfection of Walter is created because he can't control his greatness (arrogance).
4. The character's characteristics 1. Character's mannerisms: they include what the character says, his actions, the reasons for his actions (real or imaginary), what do other characters say about the character, what is his relationship like with the other characters.
2. Character's recurrent expressions and reasons for these expressions. Does the character have any nervous ticks or favorite movements that the character always does? 3. Character's usual postures and gestures along with reasons for these postures and gestures.
4. Character's emotional experiences: what do the characters experience in the script and how does this affect the characters? What has the character experienced outside of the script that influences the words and actions onstage? What are the character's weaknesses and strengths, fears, and common relations? Más en www.unybook.com gperez1783 5. Character background.
-Cultural background: there are many cultural influences that may determine the character: Ethnic- how would Italian American differ from a native American? Think about their speech and accents, how they express themselves, mannerism, attitudes and life philosophy.
Social- is your character from an well-to-do Washington family or a dirt poor family? How would this affect them? Religious- your character will have a religious philosophy. They could be Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Agnostic or Atheist? How would this change their behavior towards people of different religions? Or how they deal with moral situations? Education- how long did the character go to school? Did they enjoy it? Were they popular? What did they study? -The time period: most scriptwriters choose to write in the current period. This is because the audience of the time can identify with cultural references. Setting a script in the future implies, on the other hand, that the way characters talk will be quite different. The vocabulary, rhythm, obscenities and meanings of words will not be the same as today's speech pattern. Similarly the clothes, amenities and buildings were vastly different. This all needs to be researched thoroughly if you want the world your script is in to be realistic.
-Location: a script set in New York will undoubtedly have a much different flavor to one se in Rhode Island.
It's a lot easier to write about the place you live than somewhere you have never even seen before. This cuts down on the amount of research needed as you know a lot more about the area you've lived in form the last 20 years than somewhere you've always wanted to visit but never got round to. It is unwise to write about a location that you've never been to before but it can be done. It just requires a lot of specific research. The location affects clothing, attitudes, pace of life, accents, etc.
-Occupation: the occupation of a character and how it affects them is often overlooked in film and can be downright ignored in a TV series. A farmer is going to have a much different place of life than a stockbroker.
A model is going to dress more stylishly than a postal worker. Depending on the occupation the character may have a unique set of skills. A negotiator is going to be very good at working people around to his way of thinking. Also the occupation and cultural background can prove to be closely related. That well-to-do Washington man is a much more likely to be the CEO of a company than the dirt-poor Detroit man. It's an intimate thing, it's says so much about you, about how you are, your goals in live...
6. The main character Your main character is imperfect: your main character should have plenty of vulnerabilities and imperfections, otherwise you have not where to go with them. If you star your script with a main character who is already complete and ideal, the they will be able to overcome any problem you throw at them too easily.
The character's goal is clear: if you've started the scriptwriting process with a firm idea of the story, then this one should come naturally. You already know the basic story arc and where the lead character is going.
However if you're trying to build a story around a character, then you need to make sure they have a well defined goal. Your main character will go to any lengths to reach their goal, throwing themselves into more and more dangerous situations as a result.
The main character re-acts and acts: never have a main characters just stand and watch as an event unfolds. They need to re-act and then act. Imagine for a moment that your family has been kidnapped and Más en www.unybook.com gperez1783 you have been left a few clues on how to find them. Your immediate re-action would be to feel upset and angry, although possibly relieved that you have a window of opportunity to get them back. You would then act by looking into the clues ant trying to find out exactly where your family are and how you can get them back. That is you re-acting and then acting on a situation. Your main character needs to have this 'think and do' mentality to every situation, even if the 'do' of the overshadows the “think”.
No Character Is More Dynamic Than Your Main Character 7. The villain For every Luke Skywalker there is a Darth Vader, for every Sherlock Holmes a Professor Moriarty. Every protagonist needs an antagonist to play off because without evil, goodness means nothing. Suffice to say that everything your main character stands for, the villain will oppose and vice versa.
At this point it is important to note that not every antagonist is a villain. Often there will be several antagonists in a script who don’t have that evil edge required to be classified as a villain. Rather they are simply doing their job which results in them opposing the antagonist. For example your main character might desire a bank loan yet be refused because of a poor credit background. The bank manager is not doing anything evil, simply carrying out his duty as a good bank manager yet he is directly opposing the protagonist.
The villain will oppose the protagonist but in a more sinister fashion. While the protagonist may believe in freedom of speech the antagonist may be suppressing that right in people in an active manner. Indeed villains are often the most active characters in a good versus evil story. They’ll lie, cheat, steal, maim, murder, bribe and betray, anything to achieve their goal.
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